The NFL let Brett Favre off the hook yesterday by ending its investigation into the quarterback allegedly sending suggestive text messages and graphic photos to female sideline reporter Jennifer Sterger . The former New York Jets signal caller and alleged sext message sender was fined $50,000 by the league who admitted they couldn't prove he sent the dirty texts and photos. It looks like the league basically swept the case under the ice-covered turf inside the Metrodome.
"Our investigation took longer than might ordinarily have been the case due to difficulties in arranging to speak with certain key individuals," the NFL statement said.
The NFL let Favre slide on the more serious charges of violating harassment rules, partly because of his stalling tactics.
Forget what is "Ripped from the Headlines" and seen on "Law & Order," admitting your guilt and copping a plea is for chumps--at least in the NFL. All you have to do there is stall, then retire. Detective Lennie Briscoe must be rolling in his grave.
Goodell determined that Favre's behavior during the probe resulted " in a longer review and additional negative public attention for Favre, Sterger and the league."
The ongoing saga has taken some wild twists and turns. Favre has admitted to sending the text messages, but has denied sending the nasty images but the website, Deadspin.com, which first published the photos in October said they all came from the same phone number. Sterger has left many people questioning why it took her two years to make the incident public--even after Favre left the Jets in 2009.
The commissioner has been criticized for moving the probe at a snail's pace and his delay in making a decision on the case. Many felt Goodell was protecting Favre, the all-time consecutive games played record holder and NFL icon, until the quarterback retired at the end of this season when a suspension would mean nothing. Favre had his 297 game streak broken earlier this month and is questionable for the last game of this season--and his career--this Sunday.
The fine is little more than a token nuisance to Favre, who made $10 million this season. In his world, the penalty takes about three minutes worth of game salary from his paycheck.
Favre may not be fist-pumping after this decision. Sterger's lawyer, former federal prosecutor Joe Conway said he was "extremely disappointed" in the decision and wouldn't discuss his client's next move. He said Sterger has not ruled out filing a law suit but preferred no to sue the NFL, the Jets or Favre. Who's left after them?
Goodell met with both Favre and Sterger earlier this month to discuss the sordid allegations which has centered on the photos of male private parts that the sports website published. Deadspin.com has been steadfast in claiming the images are self-portraits that Favre sent Sterger.
Favre, 41, says he intends to retire after a tumultuous season filled with injuries and other sexual accusations which cannot be confirmed. The NFL will not have jurisdiction over Favre if he leaves.
The Jets issued a statement saying the team considered the matter over and done with.